With the rise of the smart home market, it’s now easier than ever to control all facets of your life in the face of your endlessly busy schedule. One of the most convenient developments on this front lies in smart sprinklers, which allows you complete control of your home gardening system from wherever life takes you.
The Rachio 3 and Orbit 57946 lawn controllers are two of the most well known smart sprinkler systems on the market. Each product comes with a bevy of features that make caring for your plants much easier: total zone control and customization, water preservation based on local weather activity, and the ability to connect to your other smart home devices and applications.
With so many similarities, it’s hard to know which product is the right fit for your home and garden. Today, we’re looking at these two side-by-side to determine which one gives you the most bang for your buck.
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The Rachio 3 makes it a breeze to divide your garden based on what each plant needs to thrive. You can update your app with details such as species type and sun exposure, and it will automatically create a watering schedule that provides each plant with the exact amount of water necessary to thrive. It also factors in weather activity and offers suggestions for soil types that offer the best source of nutrients given your precise location. This system provides two models (an 8-zone and a 16-zone), making it simple to care for both small and large gardens.
The Orbit 57946 also offers fully customizable zone control capabilities. This system factors in up-to-date weather forecasts, soil type, elevation/slope, and sun exposure information to craft the ideal watering schedule for your garden. Because it has more specific identifiers factored in than most other smart sprinklers on the market, it’s easier to provide more precise care for each vegetation type. While Orbit offers another model (the Orbit 57950) that doubles the number of zones you can control, the 57946 is capable of caring for up to 6 zones at a time.
Conclusion: While both systems offer an impressive amount of customization for each zone in your garden, the Rachio 3 has a bit of an edge in this category. While the Orbit system factors in one more piece of information for each zone, the Rachio system allows you to control more zones overall, giving you more control if you have a larger variety of plant types in your garden.
The Orbit 57946 was designed to save you money by actively preserving your water when it’s not needed. Its Weather Sense feature uses your Wi-Fi network to access local weather data from multiple meteorological services. With this information, it creates a custom watering program for you so you’ll never have to think about when to water again. It is certified by the EPA’s WaterSense initiative, which identifies products that are designed to limit excessive water use. Because of this certification, you may be eligible for local rebates that could potentially save you up to 100% of the cost of the product.
The Rachio 3 is also EPA WaterSense certified, so it will never over-water your plants like some other automatic sprinkler systems. It utilizes Weather Intelligent Plus technology, which cross-references several upcoming weather forecasts for your specific location. By using this information, it can determine a watering schedule that optimizes your garden’s watering needs based on the unpredictable nature of the weather. This technology uses satellite connections to scan multiple meteorological resources for rain, wind, and snow and will actively skip any watering scheduled during these times. It will also water your garden more frequently during hot times.
Conclusion: With their shared EPA approval and intelligent regulation of water, it’s hard to declare an outright better product between the two. They can also be attached to home water and soil sensors to add another dimension of precision to the equation. In the end, both controllers will save you money on your water bill while keeping your plants healthy and happy.
The Rachio 3 has an affiliated app that can be used to control your sprinkler system from your phone, tablet, or laptop. The app features your zone and schedule menus, which allow you to customize your watering to your liking. You can use the app to start, stop, or pause your system from your phone/tablet whenever (and whenever) you want. It features guided walkthroughs that help optimize your system’s potential by breaking down how to customize your watering schedule. It is compatible with several of the top smart-home platforms on the market: Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, SmartThings, Nest, and IFTTT.
The Orbit 57946’s B-Hyve app is available for Android, iOS, and other web devices and is also compatible with Amazon Alexa. The B-Hyve app allows you complete control of your sprinkler system from your smart device, making gardening as easy as sending a text message. Like Rachio’s app, you can define the vegetation conditions of each zone and set up a repeatable watering schedule that works best with your schedule. By connecting to your Alexa device, you can turn your sprinklers on or off just by using your voice. With its connection to Alexa, the B-Hyve app makes it possible to care for your plants without even needing to lift a finger.
Conclusion: Both systems have apps that allow you to customize your garden’s watering schedule directly from your phone or tablet. However, because of its better accessibility to your other smart home apps and devices, the Rachio 3 is the clear winner in this category.
And the Winner is…
If you’re looking to make a serious investment in the life and longevity of your plants, the Rachio 3 smart watering system offers more care and control of your garden than the Orbit 57946. While both products offer you incredibly easy and powerful control of your sprinklers, the Rachio edges past the Orbit as the better choice due to its advantages in both the Zoning and Connectivity categories.
Thankfully, the Orbit system offers very similar features as Rachio’s, so it’s still a viable option if you have a smaller garden or you’re just starting on your smart water controller journey.